blue eighteen: Chemiefaserwerk

— Sold out

C40 + download

Following a couple of years of kind-of glib attempts at straplines for the Blue Tapes brand - ‘Just another cultural filtration system’, ‘Fraudulent pop’, ‘Future-proofing music by making it plastic' etc. - we finally alighted on one that was kind of truthful: Secular drones & spiritual pop.

These are the hemispheres of the musical component of the Blue Tapes art project. While the spiritual pop could describe the ecstatic, playful messes of Katie Gately, Henry Plotnick and Laurent Chambert, secular drones could meanwhile be found in the stripped-back-to-the-raw-nerves sounds of Mats Gustafsson, Father Murphy and The Fractal Skulls.

Sometimes, such as on The Blue Tapes House Band: vol. 1, the two hemispheres converge. Sometimes blissfully, sometimes not.

blue eighteen: Chemiefaserwerk taps into this mini-tradition of secular drones that we’ve curated. The two pieces on this cassette are the end-product of mad scientist experiments with tape manipulations that could rival the work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, if the Workshop had never attempted theme tunes, and just churned out those psyche-scrambling incidental sound cues for early Doctor Who episodes.

It is not to be listened to lightly. The component frequencies of these recordings are crackles, bumps, feedback and other tape-sourced errata, all building up to mind-cell-piercing drones. It isn’t aggressive, though. We’re not a noise label. Instead these compositions resemble hymns for alien artefacts - cold and full of weather and secrets. The effect is communicative and reverent, if not especially in thrall to human concerns such as emotion or empathy.

This tape bristles with aural information; coded mantras from the days when data was magnetic and not binary.

Praise for blue eighteen:

"...unlike many noise-focused endeavours that tend towards a temporal staticity or overload, Chemiefaserwerk creates an eventful performance designed to artfully present a range of unidentifiable sounds whose fluid transformations and abrupt cuts carve a semblance of a narrative. Thanks in part to the image on its cover coupled with its frequent insect-like fluttering the story sounded like a version of War Of The Worlds recontextualised from the perspective of a butterfly - the magnetic manipulations recalling the kind of concrete foley used to emphasise the action of UFO death rays in cult movies from the fifties. Indeed, the tape could have been produced anytime in the last 60 or so years, such is its seeming independence from contemporary styles and technology, an aspect that only enhances its strange appeal." - The Quietus

"What sticks with you after hearing Chemiefaserwerk is the listening experience itself. You’ll remember feeling confrontational, relaxed, perplexed, annoyed and especially always intrigued, while this Blue Tape is spinning between reels. It is quite the effective summary of those two elements of Blue Tapes that have found a common ground on this tape, and whether you like the twisted mechanical electro-acoustic-pop of Katie Gately or the mutant drones of the Radiophonic Workshop, there’ll be a little something in it for everybody." - The Formant

"I miss the days when music seemed larger than life but this cassette seems to be bringing them back." - Raised by Gypsies